Volume 18 (2011), Issue 1

Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure by Periannan Chandrasekharan

ISSN 1084-7561 http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/ejvs.2011.1.319

Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure Periannan Chandrasekaran


Introduction A heretofore unidentified word structure with a special compounding pattern

discovered in the Dravidian language family and reconstructible to the proto-stage is described here and an application of that pattern to systematically explain the structure and etymology of words in the Vedic substratum is also illustrated. Sequences of at least two roots which function as words are reconstructible in Proto-Dravidian (PDr) or in at least one of the subgroups and their patterns have been dealt with in considerable detail by Krishnamurti (2003:200-204). Krishnamurti also reports (ibid.:200) of an unpublished manuscript 1 by Emeneau entitled ‘Some Dravidian noun compounds’ wherein veṇṇey ‘butter’ and pokkūẓ ‘navel’ are reported to have been analyzed in addition to six other items mainly confined to individual languages. Steever (1998:384-5) discusses compound word formation of the North Dravidian language Malto in detail including balance-noun and balance-verb formations and, in the same compilation (pp238-9), Krishnamurti discusses Telugu compound formation. Scharfe (2006:241 but originally presented in 2003 probably unaware of Krishnamurti’s comparative treatment) remarks: “Unfortunately, most of


Reportedly published as Emeneau 2006 as listed in references (personal communication by Suresh Kolichala) Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS) Vol. 18, Issue 1, 2011, 1–59 (©) ISSN 1084–7561


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

our reference works available on Dravidian linguistics are virtually silent on the topic of compounds”. The importance of Dravidian word structure goes beyond simply understanding the Dravidian language family better. With the impasse reached in decoding the Indus archaeological symbols to identify the language(s) of the Indus Valley Civilization (or Harappan Civlization) and with serious debates over whether those symbols represent a language script at all (Farmer, Sproat and Witzel 2004 and Parpola 2008), it has become necessary to look to early textual sources such as the Ṛg Veda for help in resolving the Indus linguistic issue. It is in this context that there has been an increasing importance attached to works by various scholars (Kuiper 1955 and 1991, Witzel 2000, 1999a, b and c) that use the unusual phonology and structure of words in Vedic susbtratum to more securely identify the languages of the Indus Valley Civilization and South Asian substrate and adstrate languages in general. Thus it has become critical to better understand the structure of words in the various language families of South Asia (or the Indian linguistic area). The reader is referred to Southworth’s Linguistic Archaeology of South Asia (2005) for reconstruction of prehistoric sociolinguistic contexts of South Asia using ancient linguistic forms. One of the most characteristic but equally frustrating aspects of the hundreds of foreign words identified by the above scholars in the Vedic substratum is their unusual structure, unusual in the sense of not conforming to Indo-European (IE) phonology and word structure formally specifiable by mechanisms such as Szemerenyi’s formula (Witzel 1999c:4-5).

Periannan Chandrasekaran


Some instances of Vedic foreign words (with comments from Kuiper 1991, Witzel 1999c:6 and Kuiper’s List by Witzel) with violations of IE phonology are: (1) bísa ‘sprout of lotus’, bsaya ‘name of a sorcerer/demon’, kīstá ‘praiser, poet’ which have prohibited occurrences of -s- after i, u, r, k in violation of the ‘ruki law’ (Kuiper 1991:25) which allows only ṣ in these environments (2) kīkaṭa ‘name of a tribe’, kīnāśa ‘ploughman’ with disallowed candidate root structures (kīk-, kīn-) and suffix structures (-ṭa, ā-śa) (3) kāṭa ‘hole, pit’, puṇya ‘lucky, meritorious’ with unconditioned retroflexes. These deviations make them foreign words borrowed into Vedic speech from the local languages spoken at that time, namely, ca. 1500-1200 BCE for the Ṛg Veda (Witzel 1999c:6) just after the end of the Indus Civilization and thus serve to identify the linguistic milieu at that time. These words2 are typically names of tribes, persons, animals, plants and water bodies and, as Witzel remarks: “We can take these names as direct take-overs or IA adoptions of non-IA local names in the NW of the subcontinent” (Witzel 1999a:§4.1). Lubotsky (2001) has added a whole new class of words as belonging to the Indo-Iranian (IIr) substratum, namely, trisyllabic nouns with a long middle syllable as difficult to explain from IE morphology3, e.g. *kapauta (or kapōta) ‘pigeon’, *kapāra ‘vessel, dish’.

For example (from Kuiper’s List by Witzel), tribe: kīkaṭa, person: turvīti, animal: mayūrī ‘female peacock’, plant: kākambīra ‘name of a tree’, water body: śutudrī ‘name of a river, Sutlej’ 3 See Witzel (2000:§12A or p25) for a mildly critical treatment of this structure singled out by Lubotsky. 2


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

2 Currently known compounding patterns Krishnamurti (2003:200-204) has classified Dravidian compound patterns into four major categories based on the parts of speech of the constituents and the likely meaning relationships between the constituents and adds a fifth called ‘compounds with doubtful compositions’. He has recognized (ibid:200) only those compound-like constructions that are attested by at least two languages so reconstructible to at least the subgroup level. A brief summary of them follows here using his own notations where the constituents of the compound are denoted by x and y. The major patterns are: (1) verb + verb (2) noun + noun (3) adjective + noun (4) verb + noun and (5) Compounds with doubtful composition. Their details are as below (only a subset of the sample etymons cited by Krishnamurti are reproduced here with his indication of boundaries inside words): (1) Verb + Verb (doing x + doing y): Tamil/Malayalam. ār-āy ‘ to investigate’, Kannada. ār-ay, Telugu. ār-ayu, ar-ayu Koṇḍa. rey- ‘to search’ where x and y are the verbs *ār ‘to become full’ + *āy ‘to search’. (2) Noun + Noun: The first noun stands in attributive relationship to the second. In this category Krishnamurti has six 4 subcategories of relationships between the two nouns: (2-i) xy = y lives on x or y causes x: Tamil. tēṉ-ī ‘honey-bee’, Kuṛux. tīn-ī ‘ bee’, Malto. tēn-i ‘honey, bee’ (2-ii) xy = y comes out of x (x = source, y = object produced): for ‘tear’ Tamil/Malayalam. kaṇ-ṇīr, Telugu. kan-nīru et al. [*kaṇ ‘eye’ and *nīr ‘water’] (2-iii) xy = y belongs to x (x = owner/resident, y = place): Tamil. kōy-il ‘palace, temple’, Telugu. kōv-ila ‘temple’


Subcategory numbering (vi) was skipped and (vii) used in the book

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etc. [*kō = king, God and * il = house] (2-iv) xy = y is called x ( x = proper noun, y = common noun): Tamil. cī-kkāy, Telugu. sī-kāya ‘soapnut tree’ (2-v) xy = object y has quality x (y is head and x is attribute): Tamil. paṉi ‘dew’, paṉ-nīr, Tulu. pan-nīrï ‘rosewater’ (2-vi) xy = y has x (‘the meaning of x is not clear’): Tamil. muẓam ‘cubit’, Tamil/Malayalam. muẓaṅ-kāl ‘knee’, muẓaṅ-kai ‘elbow’, Kannada. moẓa-kāl ‘knee’ Telugu. mr kālu ‘knee’, Kuṛux. m-kā ‘knee’ (3) Descriptive adjective + noun head: Tamil. mutu ‘old’ mūtt-appaṉ ‘father’s father’, Koḍagu. mutt-tāy ‘great-grandmother’, Telugu. mut-awwa ‘great-grandmother’ (4) verb as modifier + noun head: Tamil. tiri ‘to turn, revolve’, Kannada. tiragṇi/e ‘turning, a wheel for raising water’, Telugu. tirugali ‘a hand-mill’ (the second element is *kal ‘stone’) (5) Compounds with doubtful composition: Kannada. pari-yāṇa, pari-vāṇa, hari-vāṇa ‘a plate-like vessel made of metal’, Tulu. harivāṇa; cf. Tamil. aruvāṇam ‘copper tray’.

3 The pleonastic word structure Here we describe a totally new word-compounding pattern found pervasively in the Dravidian language family. The pattern is as follows: The compound functions as a single word usually cited as a dictionary entry but consists of two or more components that are synonymous or near-synonymous with each other and the compound as a whole is also synonymous with its individual components. Components are usually stems that have one lexical root or its alternate


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

form followed by an optional sequence of derivative and formative suffixes5 or root extensions (Subrahmanyam 2008:50) but a component itself can be another pleonasm. There is no readily discernible relationship among the components such as headmodifier typically found with the Dravidian compounding patterns known so far. There is no evident role played by the position of the component, the components strung together in a seemingly superfluous or pleonastic manner but motivations such as paraphrasing are likely and are discussed later. An example is worth citing at this stage6: Koṇḍa. uma-gunji and Parji. umaguñi ‘owl’ with the components attested in Tamil. ūmaṉ, Malayalam. ūman ‘owl’, Kui. Kuwi. gunji ‘owl’, Gonḍi. kunji ‘large owl’ and Parji. guññi ‘owl’. It is found that the distribution of a compound and of its components in different subgroups is independent of each other. That is to say, a language or a subgroup may have the compound with no record of any of the components with the relevant meaning. This would show that the compound was formed much before the language retaining the compound branched from its ancestor and that the language in question simply failed to inherit some of the individual components from its ancestry along with the compound. The Konda word uma-guñji cited above is a classic example with the ma- component not at all attested in Konda’s Central Dravidian (CDr) subgroup or in any of its neighboring subgroups but attested only in the farthest languages Tamil and Malayalam. 5

For details on standard Dravidian root, stem and word structure, see Subrahmanyam(2008:50-71, 1983:13-35), Zvelebil(1990:17), Krishnamurti(2003:92, 179-204) 6 From DEDR entries #1647 and #747

Periannan Chandrasekaran


This pleonastic pattern is reconstructible to PDr which fact will be established when we examine below the available evidence in detail.

4 Methodology We use here only those words as evidence for this pleonastic compounding pattern that are already listed with the cited meanings in etymological dictionaries and in dictionaries of individual languages, and completely avoid arguing for any new interpretation of their meaning just in support of the thesis. The primary source for comparative Dravidian lexicon is the Second Edition of A Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (DEDR) by Burrow and Emeneau (1984) and CDIAL by Turner for Indo-Aryan. Dictionaries for specific languages are also employed to carefully identify words left out of DEDR. It should be noted that Tamil etymons are transcribed in phonemic notation unlike with almost all other Dravidian languages. As for establishing reconstructibility of this new compounding pattern to ProtoDravidian, there are two possible options. One way is to show the widespread nature of this structural pattern in Dravidian, that is, in all subgroups; and the other is to show that an attested compound in a Dravidian subgroup could only have been formed at the PDr stage due to the lack of one or more of the components in the same subgroup and in its neighboring subgroups, ruling out recent

or synchronic

formation of the compound. There are still sharp differences among Dravidian linguists over subgrouping (Zvelebil 1990:54-59, Krishnamurti 2003:492, Subrahmanyam 2008:1-48) and here


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

we follow the subgrouping by Krishnamurti (2003:492) also followed by Southworth (2005). This would be more conservative in PDr reconstruction than other subgroupings (Subrahmanyam 2008:1-48, Zvelebil 1990:54-59) since languages of the Telugu-Kuwi group would be in South Dravidian II (SDr II) (within SDr) rather than in Central Dravidian (CDr) along with the Kolami-Parji group as per Subrahmanyam. For reconstructing an etymon to PDr, attestation in any two non-contiguous subgroups (Zvelebil 1990:59) is employed as the basic criterion but Southworth (2005:230-237) calls for further restrictions to make it more reliable by accounting for diffusion through contact among the languages of the subgroups. Southworth concludes (ibid:236-7) that, for PDr, the most reliable reconstructions are those with cognates in SDr and North Dravidian (NDr) excluding those cases where only the NDr language Kuṟux and CDr share cognates and the next best are reconstructions with SDr I and CDr where we must be alert to borrowings between Kannada-Tulu and CDr languages. This paper uses standard Dravidian phonology and morphology extensively described in the literature. For various topics such as Dravidian subgrouping, historical Dravidian phonology including the reconstructibility of the full set of retroflex consonants to PDr, allophonic voicing/lenition of stops especially intervocalically and after homorganic nasals, phonology of Dravidian roots, word formation, quantitative and qualitative alternation of vowels and the rules for sound changes from PDr to subgroups and to individual languages, the reader is referred to

Periannan Chandrasekaran


Subrahmanyam (1983, 2008), Zvelebil (1990), Steever (1998), Krishnamurti (2001, 2003) and Andronov (2003).

5 The evidence The available evidence spans many semantic domains such as animals, vegetation, natural and social phenomena indicating this as a fundamental feature of the Dravidian word formation. We first examine an evidence in the form of a single compound that establishes productivity of this pattern in Proto-Dravidian and then cite evidence from various subgroups that shows its pervasiveness throughout the Dravidian family in all subgroups. For precedence of reconstruction of structural features to PDr based on pervasiveness criteria, see Steever (1993:28) for echo compound forms and Krishnamurti (2003:370) for serial verbs.


Koṇḍa. uma-gunji and Parji. uma guñi ‘owl’ First we examine the evidence for a single pleonastic instance inherited from

the proto-stage. To this end we consider the words Koṇḍa. uma-gunji and Parji. uma guñi ‘owl’ and their associated etymons: DEDR #747: Tamil. ūmaṉ owl Malayalam. ūman id. Parji. uma guñi id. Koṇḍa uma-gunji id. DEDR #1647: Parji. guññi owl, uma guñi a kind of owl Gonḍi. kunji large owl Konḍa. uma gunji owl Kui. gunji id. Kuwi.gunji id. MTL lists also Tamil. ūmaṉ a kind of big owl, ūmaikkōṭṭāṉ a large species of owl, ūmattaṅkūkai a species of a very large size owl


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

To better visualize the distribution of the words in various subgroups, we arrange them as in the following table: Subgroup

Language Tamil




ūmaṉ, ūmai, ūmatta

SDr I Malayalam Goṇḍi

ūman kunji uma-gunji

Koṇḍa SDr II








uma guñi

We discuss briefly the phonology of the components before proceeding with the analysis. Parji -ñ- and -ññ- are reflexes of PDr *-ñc- (DEDR: Table I) and g- in gunji and guññi forms, and the -g- in the uma-gunji/guñi are reflexes respectively of PDr *k- and *-k- as seen in the retention in Gonḍi. kunji. The –nj- (or -ñj-) cluster in kunji is an inherited phonetic feature of the PDr phonemic cluster *-ñc- as all stops following their homorganic nasals were voiced in Proto-Dravidian (Krishnamurti 2003:93). Between the short vowel of uma- found in the compounds and the long vowel of Tamil/Malayalam ūma-, the latter long vowel is original since if any of the languages preserve a long vowel in cognates, its quality can be taken to represent the quality of the PDr vowel (Subrahmanyam 1983:158-200, Krishnamurti 2003: 101-2). So we have phonemically PDr *ūm- and PDr *kuñci in play here. The South Dravidian languages, Tamil and Malayalam, have no reflexes for *kuñci while there is no apparent record of free form reflexes for *ūma in the whole

Periannan Chandrasekaran


combine of SDr II and CDr. Actually Koṇḍa, one of the two languages with the compound, does not have any of the components in its lexicon. Since the only languages that have the *kuñci reflexes are all without any contact with the only languages that have the ma component, it is clear that the compound must have been formed at a stage when the components *ūma and *kuñci both were available in the same lexicon which can only be Proto-Dravidian. This establishes that the pleonastic compounding pattern was productive as early as the PDr stage. As for the etymology of the components themselves, it must first be stated that the compound above might not necessarily have been formed at a stage where it came to mean ‘owl’ but it could have been at an earlier stage when it might have had only its etymological sense, say, ‘bird’ or whatever ‘bird’ was supposed to mean, say, ‘flight’ or ‘feather, hair or cluster’. This can be seen from the occurrence of the *ūm component with a different bird species as with Tamil. umā-paṭci ‘a species of paradise-bird’ (MTL) (paṭci < Skt. pakṣin ‘bird’). The underlying semantics of *kuñci is most likely in PDr *kuñc ‘cluster, hair’ as seen with DEDR #16397. We can also observe the way these components participate in permutation and combination with other components in the same semantic domain. We have Tamil. kōṭṭan ‘rock horned owl’ but also ūmaik-kōṭṭan ‘a large species of owl’ and ūmattaṅ-

DEDR #1639 with only the –ñc-/-ñj- stems: Tamil. kuñcam bunch of flowers, tassel, cluster of grass, bushy tail of the yak, weaver's brush; kuñci tuft of hair (esp. of man), crest of peacock, tassels (as insignia of royalty); Malayalam. kuñcam, kuñci tassel, brush (esp. of toddy-drawers); koñcu mane of animals. Kannada. kuñca bunch, bundle, cluster, tassel, brush, a kind of fan or chowry; goñcal cluster, bunch; goñci a mass; goñce mass, cluster; Tulu. goñju tassel; kuñca id., flybrush; goñci, goñcilu; bunch, cluster. Gondi. kunjar, kunjaṛ hair-knot; kunjā the knob in the bun of hair tied on the top of the head; kunja kelk plaited hair / Cf. Turner, CDIAL no. 4174, guñja- bunch, bundle, cluster 7


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

kūkai ‘a species of a very large size owl’ where kūkai in turn means again ‘rock horned owl’.


Kannada oḍejāli ‘Acacia planifrons’ This plant name in Kannada has pleonastically two components PSDr I. *ṭay

and PSDr *cāli as seen from the following etymons: DEDR #594: Tamil. uṭai Acacia planifrons; A. latronum; A. eburnea. Malayalam. oṭa a kind of thorny tree, umbrella thorn, A. planifrons. Kannada. oḍejāli A. planifrons (for jāli, see 2474). MTL: Tamil. ōṭai buffalo thorn cutch (Acacia latronum) DEDR #2474: Tamil. cāli umbrella-thorn babul, Acacia planifrons; elephant thorn, A. tomentosa; buffalo-thorn cutch, A. latronum. Kannada. jāli thorny babool tree, A. arabica Wild.; A. Farnesiana. Telugu. jāli, jāla A. arabica (branches are cut and used for fencing)

To further see the pleonastic interplay of such botonymic components, we can examine Tamil. uṭaivēl ‘pea-podded black babul, Acacia eburnea’ but we also have vēl by itself synonymous with the compound, as seen in: MTL: Tamil. vēl ‘babul genus acacia, panicled babul’ DEDR #5537: Tamil. vēl babul tree. Malayalam. vēla-maram an acacia, babul tree


Tamil iṉanirai ‘herd’ The redundant compound iṉanirai ‘herd’ is widely attested in classical Tamil

texts occurring at least sixteen times in six different Caṅkam anthologies8 and at least twice in Cilappaikāram9. It is made up of two components both widely attested in


Aka(21:26, 120:3, 199:11, 214:3, 225:7, 249:18, 269:3, 321:7, 357:8); Kuṟu(180:2); Kali(106:4, 113:29); Malaipaṭu:416; Naṟṟ(240:9, 291:8); Neṭu:4; Patiṟṟu(12:6, 67:7); Puṟa (257:8, 269:10); 9 Cilappati(12:16-2, 14:64)

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free form as iṉam10 ‘pack, herd’ and nirai11 ‘collection, herd’ in the same texts. Even if we leave out the occurrences12 where commentators appear to take the first component to mean ‘class’ or ‘type’ resulting in the compound being glossed as “herd of various types of [sheep etc.]”, we are still left with many where it is pleonastic. Some sample occurrences with no possible ambiguities either in the texts themselves or in their old commentaries are: pullār iṉanirai (Puṟa:257:8)13 ‘the herds of enemies’, palkaḷiṟṟu iṉanirai (Patiṟṟu:67:7)14 ‘herds of many elephants’, pal āṉ iṉanirai taẓīiya villōr15 (Puṟa:269:10) ‘bowmen who have seized herds with many cows’, kavarnta iṉaniraikaḷ16 (Cilappati:12:16-2) ‘the herds seized’. Interestingly medieval commentators simply and variously gloss the compound iṉanirai as nirai17, iṉaniraikaḷ18 (plural form), niraiyiṉam19 (!), iṉamākiya pala niraikaḷ20 or iṉamākiya nirai21 meaning ‘the nirai that is an iṉam’. Occurrence of niraiyiṉam in the medieval gloss is notable for the way it simply exchanges the components in position and still means the same, showing that the components serve the same role in either position.

DEDR #531: Tamil. iṉam class, group, kind, species, race, tribe, herd, associates. Malayalam. inam class of animals, swarm. 11 DEDR #3673: Tamil. nirai row, column, line, series, order, regularity, arrangement, collection, herd; Malayalam. nira line, row etc. 12 For example, Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar on Malaipaṭu:416 palyāṭṭu iṉanirai (Pattuppāṭṭu 1998) 13 Old commentary: poruntātāratu iṉamākiya nirai (Pillai 1996) 14 Old commentary: kaḷiṟṟiṉ nirai (Patiṟṟu 1994) 15 Old commentary: palavākiya iṉamāṉa āṉiraikaḷ (Pillai 1996) 16 Aṭiyārrkunallār gloss: kaikkoṇtu vanta iṉaniraikaḷ (Cilappati 2001:327) 17 Old commentary for Patiṟṟu:67:7. See footnote 14 18 Aṭiyārrkunallār on Cilappati:12:16-2. See footnote 16 19 Aṭiyārrkunallār on Cilappati:14:64: iṉanirai - niraiyiṉam, iṉamākiya pala niraikaḷ (Cilappati 2001:371) 20 See footnote 19 21 Old commentary on Puṟa:257:8 (Pillai 1996:117). See footnote 13 10



Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

Tamil mākavicumpu ‘sky’ The redundant compound mākavicumpu ‘sky’ occurs frequently in classical

Tamil texts attested at least ten times22 in Caṅkam texts spread across four different anthologies employed by many different poets. It consists of two components mākam ‘upper space, sky, atmosphere’ and vicumpu ‘visible heavens, sky’ attested widely as free words in the same texts. Though in one instance23 the medieval commentator Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar glosses the first component mākam as ‘direction’, in all other instances we find glosses typical of pleonasm, mākamākiya vicumpu, meaning ‘the vicumpu that is the mākam’. Some sample pleonastic occurrences are: mākavicumpiṉ ucci (Puṟa 60:2) glossed mākamākiya vicumpiṉatu ucci ‘the zenith of the sky’ (Pillai 1996), mākavicumpiṉ naṭuvu (Puṟa 35:18) glossed mākamākiya uyarnta vāṉattiṉatu naṭuvu ‘in the midst of the high sky that is mākam’ (Pillai 1996) and mākavicumpum (Pari 1:47) glossed24 by Parimēlaẓakar as mākamākiya vicumpum ‘and the sky that is mākam’ (Paripāṭal 1995).


Tamil. ūrkōḷ ‘halo’ We next consider the pleonastic compound Tamil ūrkōḷ ‘halo round the sun or

moon’ where ūr means ‘halo round the sun or moon’ and kōḷ also means ‘halo, brilliance, light’. The words ūrkōḷ in the sense of ‘halo’ is attested in the 10th century

mākavicumpu occurs in: Aka (141:6, 162:3, 253:24, 317:1), Maturai:454, Pari:1:50, Puṟa (35:18, 60:2, 270:1, 400:1) 23 Maturai:454: māka vicumpoṭu glossed as tikkukaḷaiyuṭaiya ākāyattuṭaṉē ‘the sky with directions’ (Pattuppāṭṭu 1998) 24 Even though he glosses the word mākam as mākamāvatu pūmikkum cuvarkkattukkum naṭuva[…] ‘mākam is that which is between the earth and the heaven’ 22

Periannan Chandrasekaran


text Cīvakacintāmaṇi25, 12th century Periyapurāṇam, 14th century Villipāratam and in the later Kanatapurāṇam. The occurrences are: maḷḷar kaṭṭaẓaṟ katirai ūrkōḷ vaḷaittavā vaḷaittuk koṇṭār26 (Cīvakacintāmaṇi :1136), ūrkōḷ vaḷainta māmati pōṉṟu27 (Periyapurāṇam :1103:3-4), ūrkōḷum veyilaic cūẓntu28 (Villipāratam :11:258:1), ūrkōḷ pariti taṉaic cūẓntatu29 (Villipāratam :11:258:1), piṟaṅku aẓal katir kāṇātu kār uṟa ūrkōḷ tōṉṟum kāṭci30 (Kanatapurāṇam :1327:3-4). The word kōḷ ‘halo’ is attested in matiyaṅ kōḷ vāy vicumpiṭai naṭappatē pōl31 (Cīvakacintāmaṇi:1098). The word ūr in the same sense is attested in the 10-12th century Kamparāmāyaṇam 32 ceṅkatir taṅkuvatu ōr ūr uṟṟatu eṉap poli oḷ muṭiyāṉ33 (3:2:9:) and ūr koṇṭa tiṅkaḷ eṉṉa34 (2:5:56). The word ūr ‘halo’ is cognate with etymons such as Tamil. uru ‘to burn’, Kannaḍa. uri ‘to burn, blaze, glow’ in DEDR #65635 whose PDr root is *ūr. The

See Zvelebil:1975:p173, 178 for dating of Cīvakacintāmaṇi, Periyapurāṇam,Villipāratam and Kantapurāṇam 26 Meaning “the warriors encircled [him] like a halo does the Sun of intense heat” and “matiyaṅ kōḷ vāy vicumpiṭai naṭappatē pōl” (1098) where the word kōḷ is glossed by the medieval commentator Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar as ‘parivēṭippu’ (< Skt. pariveṣa ‘halo’) comparing the people surrounding the hero Cīvakaṉ to the halo around the moon 27 Meaning “like the beautiful moon encircled by a halo” 28 Meaning “and the halo surrounded the sun” 29 Meaning “the halo surrounded the sun” 30 Meaning “the scene where, with the shining sun’s rays blocked by the clouds, a halo appears’ 31 where the word kōḷ is glossed by the medieval commentator Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar as ‘parivēṭippu’ (< Skt. pariveṣa ‘halo’) comparing the people surrounding the hero Cīvakaṉ to the halo around the moon 32 See Zvelebil:1975:p181-184 for dating of Kampaṉ and his Irāmāvatāram 33 meaning “he with the golden crown that shines like a halo attached to the red sun” 34 Meaning ‘the moon with a halo, as it were’ 35 Parts of DEDR #656: Tamil. uru to burn; Kannada. uri to burn, blaze, glow, n. burning, flame, blaze, etc.; Koḍagu. uri burning sensation. Tulu. uri blaze, flame, heat; uriyuni to burn, blaze; Telugu. uriyu to burn; uralu to burn, be ablaze; Konḍa rūṇ(u) heat of summer. Manḍa. rund- to ignite, set alight. Kui. ruta to set fire to, ignite; n. setting fire to; ru- to set light to. Kuwi. rund- to ignite 25


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

word kōḷ ‘halo’ is cognate with etymons such as Tamil. koḷḷi ‘firebrand, fire’ in DEDR #215836 again with the semantics of ‘light, fire’. It should be stated that the pleonastic compound ūrkōḷ might have been formed in the original etymological sense of ‘light’ (or ‘light’-‘light’) before ending up in the specialized sense of ‘halo’. Still the point remains that it was originally pleonastic.


Tamil. cōnā(i)māri ‘incessant rain’ The word Tamil. cōṉaimāri/cōṉāmāri is another attested example of this new

word structure. It means ‘incessant rain’ and occurs as in “cōṉaimāriyiṉ corintaṉaṉ” (Kampa:piramāttira:59) meaning “like an incessant rain did [he] pour [it]”. Its components cōṉai and māri also mean the same or similar as listed in the entries of DEDR: DEDR #2899: Tamil. cōṉai dark moisture-laden clouds, incessant downpour of rain, constant drizzle from clouds gathering on hilltops; cōṉam cloud; cōṉā-māri incessant rain. Kannada. sōne a thin, light but long-continued rain, incessant drizzle, incessant rain. Telugu. sōna rain, drizzle, thin but long. DEDR #4819: Tamil. māri water, rain, shower, cloud, toddy, liquor. Malayalam. māri heavy rain.

Parts of DEDR #2158: Tamil. koḷḷi firebrand, fire, quick-tongued person; koḷuttu to kindle, set on fire, ignite; burn; koḷuntu, koḷuvu to kindle (as fire). Malayalam. koḷḷi firebrand, firewood; koḷuttuka to set on fire, light, kindle. Kannada. koḷḷi, koḷḷe firebrand. Tulu. kolli, koḷḷi id.


Periannan Chandrasekaran



Tamil. tuṇaṅkaṟal ‘festival’ Tamil. tuṇaṅkaṟal comprises two components tuṇaṅk- and aṟal both meaning

‘festival’. This is lexicographic only. The ninth century Tamil nighaṇṭu Piṅkalantai37 and the sixteenth century Cūṭāmaṇi list38 tuṇaṅkaṟal in the sense of ‘festival’, the nighaṇṭu Tivākaram (ninth cent.) and Cūṭāmaṇi list 39 tuṇaṅkai ‘festival’ and Tivākaram again has40 aṟal ‘festival’.


Kolami. vallambā ‘rice’ Central Dravidian Kolami. vallambā ‘rice’ is pleonastic with its components as

follows: DEDR#174:

Kolami. amba cooked


aṁbāl food;



(val rice).

Naikri. ambal boiled rice. (leaving out words with the sense of ‘porridge’ or ‘gruel’ as they are likely from a root meaning ‘fluid’) DEDR# 5287: Tamil. valci paddy, husked rice, boiled rice, food. Malayalam. vaṟṟu grain of boiled








off. Telugu. vaḍlu unhusked


paddy. Kolami. val grain of unhusked rice; valbi·am husked rice. Naikri. val paddy. Naiki. (Chanda) valku (pl.) paddy, rice.

The components are reconstructible to PDr *val ‘rice’ and PCDr *amb- ‘rice’.

See Zvelebil (1975:194-5 and 212) for dating of Tivākaram, Piṅkalantai and Cūṭāmaṇi iruḷum viẓavum tuṇaṅkaṟal eṉpa (Piṅkalantai:10:621), tuṇaṅkaṟal iruḷ viẓā ām (Cūṭāmaṇi:11:84) 39 tuṇaṅkai āṭalum tirunāḷum viẓavum (Tivākaram: 2010 or 11:109) and tuṇaṅkaiyē viẓāp pēy kūttām (Cūṭāmaṇi:11:84) 40 aṟalē viẓavum nīrum īrttiraiyum (Tivākaram:2118 or 11:217) 37 38



Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

Gondi. rāghō-sīṛi ‘parrot’ The SDr II language Gondi has the pleonastic compound rāghō-sīṛi ‘parrot’

with the following components: DEDR #5164: Naikri. rāghok parrot. Naiki. (Chanda.) rāgo id. Gondi. rāgo, rāghōsīṛī id. DEDR #2582: Gondi. siṛī, hiṛī parrot Konḍa siṛa id. Pengo. hiṛa a kind of bird. Also Pengo. siṛa ‘balance word to poṭi bird’ (Burrow and Bhattacharya 1970:229)

DEDR has not attempted reconstruction of the first component’s initial sounds even though it begins with r- which is not permitted by PDr phonotactics. The second component is phonemically *cīẓ- as PDr. *ẓ > *ṛ was a shared innovation at the









(Subrahmanyam 2008:35). The word initial s- and h- in the Gondi etymons are all products of the still ongoing phonological process in Gondi dialects: PDr *c- > s- > h- > ϕ (Krishnamurti 2003:127-128, Subrahmanyam 2008:254). Pengo. hiṛa also has the h- but it is an independent sound change of PDr *c- > *s- > *h- from ProtoPengo-Manḍa stage (Subrahmanyam 2008:261).

5.10 Gondi. sargōḍā ‘rat-snake’ This Gondi snake word is listed in DEDR #2816: Telugu. pen-jera a species of rock-snake; jeṟṟi-pōtu whipsnake; jerri goḍḍu a kind of snake. Kolami. jērigag (presumably jērigaḍ) sp. snake (Hindi. dhāman). Parji. jēri id. Gondi.

Periannan Chandrasekaran


(A.) sēri, (Tr.) sargōḍā, (Ch.) sargoḍal, (Muria.) hergoḍal the rat-snake, dhāman; (Maṛia.) er(e)goḍali a kind of snake (cf. Muria. goḍal dhaman snake). Cf. 2011 Tamil. cērai.

It is obvious from the above that a component with a gḍ- stem (phonemically *kṭ-) is appearing in combination with various other components and it occurs independently in the Muria dialect of Gondi in goḍal ‘dhaman snake’. Also obvious is a component, phonemically *cr-, occurring independently as in Parji. jēri and Gondi. sēri and in compounded form in Kolami. jērigaḍ and Telugu. pen-jera. We need to show that the same occurs in other Gondi etymons such as sargōḍā. We exclude Telugu jeṟṟi-, jerri forms as they are most likely to have their -ṟṟand -rr- as reflexes of PDr *-ṯ-/-ṯṯ- as opposed to PDr *-r- for the rest of the stems such as Parji. jēri. For the Gondi etymons sargōḍā, sargoḍal, hergoḍal and er(e)goḍali, we reconstruct their








or to put it succinctly as *cr(e)kṭa(li). The step-by-step

reasoning is as follows. We reconstruct *cēr/*cer-e for the stems sar/her/er(e) and *kṭ- for the gḍ- stems for the following reasons: •

The word initial s-, h- and ϕ in the etymons are all products of the still ongoing phonological process in Gondi dialects: PDr *c- > s- > h- > ϕ. It is reported to be complete in some dialects such as Hill-Maṛia (Krishnamurti 2003:127-128, Subrahmanyam 2008:254). etymons.

So we reconstruct a word-initial *c- for these


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

The -a- in sar-stems is not original but is a Gondi change in its Northern dialects, that is, PDr *e > Gondi. e, a (dialectal) (DEDR: Table I: Phonetic Correspondences, Subrahmanyam 1983:117 and 2008:253, Andronov 2003:73). For an exact phonological parallel41, we may cite: DEDR #2819: Telugu. ērālu husband's brother's wife. Naiki.(Chanda.) serutra husband's younger brother's wife. Gondi. sēranḍū, sernḍu, harnḍu, ervonḍ, eonḍ spouse's younger brother (or spouse's younger sister's husband); fem. seranḍal, seranḍār, sernḍar, harnḍar spouses' younger sister; sērīyāṛ, sērīyāl elder brother's wife; sereyaṛ husband's brother's wife. Konḍa. sēṟon husband's younger brother. Manḍa. hējun wife's younger brother. Kui. sejenju husband's younger brother.

Now treating the goḍ- stem is straightforward, since by standard Dravidian phonology, medial voiced stops in Dravidian etymons are allophones of nongeminate



(Subrahmanyam 2008:124-127, Krishnamurti

2003:163). Hence for -gḍ- we reconstruct *-kṭ-. The etymon goḍḍu in Telugu. (jerri) goḍḍu also derived from the same canonical root *kṭ(ṭ)-. Putting all the above together we phonemically reconstruct the first component in Gondi’s compound etymons as *cēr/*cere. And the phonemic reconstructions for the full compounds are: *cērkōṭā/cerekōṭa, *cērkoṭal/cerekoṭal and *cērkoṭali/cerekoṭali. As for DEDR’s suggestion in this entry of cognacy with DEDR #201142 Tamil. cērai, cārai ‘rat snake’, Kannada. kēre ‘rat snake, whip-snake’, Tulu. kērè ‘a kind of harmless snake’, there arises the problem that we have to posit palatalization of PDr *k- in Gondi, Kolami and Parji just to account for the *cēr- stems in this

41 42

For more see DEDR entries such as: 1963, 1980, 2798, 3433, 3770, 4411, 4423

#2011 Tamil. cērai, cārai rat snake, Ptyas mucosus. Malayalam. cēra rat snake, Amphisbaena or Coryphodon. Kota. ke·r va·b sp. harmless snake. Toda. ke·r, ke·r fo·b sp. snake. Kannada. kēre rat snake, whip-snake, P. mucosus. Koḍaga. ke·re pa·mbï sp. non-poisonous snake; kariŋ ge·re pa·mbï rat snake (kari 'black'). Tulu. kērè a kind of harmless snake. Cf. 2816 Telugu. pen-jera.

Periannan Chandrasekaran


entry, but PDr *k- was palatalized only in Tamil-Malayalam and in Telugu independently (Subrahmanyam 1983:292-3 and 2008:152-3, 243-4, Krishnamurti 2003:128-9). Hence it is more economical to treat them as originating from different roots PSDr *kēr and PDr *cēr. Areally we can relate this to the Vedic. śrkoṭa ‘serpent’ identified as non-IA in origin and much discussed by Kuiper (1991:41-2, 44) and Witzel (1999a:§3, 1999c:30,37) which is taken up in the section devoted to Vedic substratum.

5.11 Kuṛux. keŋkō-beŋkō ‘crooked, curved’ This is a case of an echo-like pleonastic compound where each component means ‘crooked’ in the NDr Kuṛux itself as can be seen with their cognates in: DEDR #2032 (leaving out *koṅk- stems as they are most likely from a different root): Gondi. gingōṇ-gongōṉ aiānā to be crooked, as a snake's progress. Kui. kengeri, kingiṛi, kengoni bent, curved, crooked. Kuṛux. keŋkrnā to be crooked, curviform; keŋkṛō, keŋkōbeŋkō crooked, curved or shaped like a hook. DEDR #5335 (a subset): Tamil. vāṅku, vēṅku to bend, bending. Kannada. baṅku to be crooked, bend. Koḍagu. ba·ŋg- to become bent, slope. Telugu. vaṅgu to bend, stoop, bow, become crooked, become low or humbled. Kolami. vaŋg- to bend; vaŋgip-. Naikri. vaŋg- id. Parji. vaŋg-, vaŋgip- id. Gadaba. vaŋka curve. Gondi. vaŋg- to bend, vangānā to be bent; vaŋkor, vaŋko bent, crooked . Kuwi. vwāngali to be crooked; wanginai to be bent, stoop; vaŋg to bend, be bent. Kuṛux. beŋknā, beŋka'ānā to turn from a straight line, bend, curve; beŋkō, baŋkā crooked, bent, curved.


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

The components are derivable respectively from PDr *keṅk- and PDr *vṅkboth with the sense of ‘crookedness’. 5.12 Malto. umbl-muro ‘urine’ This word from the NDr language Malto is a pleonastic compound with its components as follows: DEDR #644: Kolami. umbul-, umul-, ūml- to urinate; umbuluḍ urine. Naikṛi. umbuḷ- to urinate. Naiki. (Chanda.) umbul- id.; umulta, umlen urine. Parji. uml-, umbl- to urinate; umlukuḍ, umbulkuḍ urine. Gadaba. umbl- to urinate; umbulkur urine; Kuwi. mṛūkali to urinate; mrū'ka urine; murkinai to piddle, piss; Kuṛux. umbulnā, umulnā to urinate; umulkā urine. Malto. umble to urinate; umbl-muro urine (muro id.) As seen above Matlo. umbl- is reconstructible phonemically to PDr *umpul ‘to urinate, urine’. Malto. muro ‘urine’ may be cognate with Kuwi. murkinai ‘to piddle, piss’.

5.13 Traditional grammatical recognition Tamil grammarians and commentators have recognized similar tendencies. For example piling words bearing the same sense in a sentence has been characterized as oruporuḷ irucol (‘one-meaning two-words’) by Tolkāppiyam43 the earliest available Tamil grammar and as oru-poruṭ-paṉ-moẓi (‘one-meaning-many-words’) by the 12th

Tolkāppiyam: collatikāram: 460: oruporuḷ irucol pirivila varaiyār (Cēnāvaraiyam 1996:625). Cēṉāvaraiyar, the medieval commentator cites as examples nivantōṅku perumalai ‘soaring big mountain’ and tuṟukal mīmicai ‘on top of the rock’.


Periannan Chandrasekaran


century grammar Naṉṉūl44. The medieval commentator Parimēlaẓakar (Paripāṭal 1995:20) classifies the attributive verbal phrase nivantu ōṅku uyar occurring in nivantu ōṅku uyar koṭi (Pari:3:18) “the soaring flag” as oru-poruṭ-paṉ-moẓi where nivantu, ōṅku and uyar each derive from verbs meaning ‘to rise’45. It has also been called as mīmicai or mīmicaiccol ‘pleonasm, word redundantly used’ (MTL citing a medieval Vaiṣṇava commentary) (where not surprisingly mī and micai both mean ‘above’). But it should be noted that these commentators have all recognized only synchronically constructed phrases in their analyses.

5.14 The habit persists The pleonastic compounding pattern still continues to this day at least in Tamil speech as evidenced by its usage in: vaẓittaṭam, vaẓi and taṭam all meaning ‘path, route’ heard everyday with bus routes; even for concepts so evidently recent as ‘ecology’ with Tamil. cuṟṟuccūẓal ‘environment’ where cuṟṟu and cūẓal both mean ‘surrounding, encompassing’. Even when it comes to English loan words it is common to combine them with Tamil words as in naṭu ceṇṭar ( Tamil. naṭu ‘center’ and English. center ), catch piṭi (Tamil piṭi ‘catch’) and so on. This is done productively by individuals as evidenced by pōsṯu kampam (Tamil. kampam ‘post, pole’) uttered by my Tamil taxi driver in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

Naṉṉūl:397: oruporuṭ paṉmoẓi ciṟappiṉiṉ vaẓā (Naṉṉūl 1995:217) From the MTL: niva ‘to rise, to be elevated; to become high’, ōṅku ‘to grow, rise high, as a tree; to ascend, as a flame; to be lofty, as a building or a mountain’, uyar ‘to rise, as water; to ascend, as a body in the air, to be high, elevated, tall, lofty’ 44 45


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

5.15 Summary of evidence So far we have seen evidence of a single compound pleonastically reconstructible to Proto-Dravidian and of the widespread nature of the pleonastic compounding pattern in all the three subgroups of Dravidian. Based on this we can safely conclude that pleonastic compounding of words was productive at the ProtoDravidian stage itself.

6 Etymological Solutions Now that we have established and understood the new Dravidian word structure we are ready to solve many outstanding etymological issues in the Indian linguistic area. First we provide solution to some Dravidian words and then to foreign words found in Vedic texts.


Tamil/Malayalam. takappaṉ ‘father’ Here we have the case of a kinship term conforming to the new pattern. We

have DEDR #3005 Tamil. tak-appaṉ father, Malayalam. takappan grouped in an entry with tak- stem etymons where the semantics is ‘fitness, worthiness, excellence’ etc. , implying that tak-appan means something like ‘fit, great or good father’ which seems rather unlikely for such a kinship term. But analyzing it as a pleonastic structure we can propose a more satisfactory etymology wherein the initial stem takmeans the same as the second stem. And indeed we find it here in Central Dravidian languages where Kolami. ta·k and Naikri. tāk mean ‘father’:

Periannan Chandrasekaran


DEDR #3152: Kolami. ta·k father (always with preceding possessor), ta·k ammaner parents. Naikṛi. tāk, tāk-jaran father; amma tāk parents

A very interesting fact here is that these two languages, Kolami and Naikṛi, do not seem to have any ‘father’ words with pp- stem. The DEDR entry46 with Tamil. appaṉ ‘father’ etc., only has Kolami. appa ‘father's sister’ and Naikṛi. appo/appok ‘wife's younger brother’ even though Naikṛi’s neighbors Gondi and Telugu have words with the sense of ‘father’. Such a construction in kinship terms is not isolated in Dravidian as can be seen with Tamil. appattai ‘elder sister’ where both the stems app- and att- are synonymous: DEDR #156 Tamil. appāttai, appi ‘elder sister’ and DEDR #142 Tamil. atti elder sister; Kannada. attike elder sister. As such, with the components in contactless languages spread across SDr I and CDr subfamilies, the Tamil/Malayalam word takappaṉ/n can be inferred to be from the PDr form *tākappan or takappan (with the original long vowel in tāk reduced47 to

DEDR#156: (a) Tamil. appaṉ, appu father; term of endearment used to little children or inferiors; appacci father; appāttai elder sister; appi mistress of house; elder sister. Malayalam. appan father; appu affectionate appellation of boys. Kannada. appa father; frequently added to the proper names of men as a term of common respect; used endearingly to children by their elders; apa father; appu affectionate appellation of boys. Koḍagu. appë father. Tulu. appa, appè affix of respect added to proper names of men; appè mother; appa a mode of calling a mother. Telugu. appa father; mother; elder sister; frequently added to names of men as a term of common respect. Kolami. appa father's sister. Naikṛi. appo/appok wife's younger brother. Gondi. āpōṛā̆l father; tape, tappe, tāpe father; tappe (his, her) father. Konḍa. aposi father (with reference to 3rd person). Kuwi. appa grandmother 47 by Krishnamurti’s Rule (Zvelebil 1990:14, Krishnamurti 2003:97) for radical vowel length reduction vowel: CC: CVC + V. For example, PDr pāṯ- : paṯ-V- ‘to run, flee’. 46


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

tak- due to the succeeding vowel in appan at the time composition itself, or later due to non-segmental factors). It should be noted that PDr *tkappan when originally composed must have meant ‘elder’ (rather ‘elder-elder’) with each component meaning ‘elder’ as this accounts for the senses of ‘elder sister, father’s sister, mother, grandmother’ along with that of ‘father’ for the app- stem in many of the Dravidian languages and that it got specialized to ‘father’.


Gadaba. piṭoḍe ‘nightingale’ and other bird words This word is a very important etymon in gaining a strategic understanding of

not only Dravidian word structure but also the etymological pattern in Dravidian. We consider Gadaba. piṭoḍe in the following: DEDR #4154: Telugu. piṭṭa ‘bird’ Kolami. piṭṭe ‘young bird, chick’ piṭṭa ‘bird’ Naikri. piṭṭa id. Gadaba. piṭoḍe ‘sp. Nightingale’. Gondi. piṭṭe, piṭe ‘bird’ Kannada (Kittel): piṭaka ‘the tailor bird, Orthotonues longicauda’ The Gadaba word piṭoḍe is structurally striking in the unusual ending oḍe. How do we account for this? This makes it a good candidate for investigating pleonastic compounding and we look for ḍ- stemmed bird words in Dravidian and we do indeed find some here: DEDR #1040: Kuṛux. ōṛā bird (in general); ōṛē a small bird. Malto. óṛe quail

Periannan Chandrasekaran


Kittel: Kannada. uḍupa: ‘the bird called cātaka’ is derived from the same root but with the standard Dravidian umlaut49 of /.

The intervocalic -ṛ- of the Kuṛux and Malto etymons above is implied to be a reflex of PDr *-ṭ- (phonetically -ḍ-) by the placement of the DEDR entry in the midst of *ōṭ- entries. This is also in line with the standard phonology of Kuṛux and Malto that their -ṛ- is a reflex of either PDr *-ṭ- or *-ẓ- (DEDR table of sound correspondences where DEDR employs r̤ for the retroflex approximant ẓ). So we can reconstruct the root stems in ōṛā, ōṛē, óṛe (substantiated by Kannada. uḍupa from contactless SDr I subgroup with a radical stem phonemically *uṭ-) to PDr *ōṭ(phonemically) as the long vowel quality in any Dravidian radical stem can be taken to represent the PDr quality (Subrahmanyam 1983:158-200, Krishnamurti 2003: 1012). So we can analyze Gadaba. piṭoḍe as piṭ-oḍe where both the stems piṭ- and oḍmean ‘bird’ (traceable respectively to PDr. *piṭṭ- and *ōṭ-) and the compound got specialized in the sense of ‘nightingale’. That this semantic development is not an isolated case can be established with many similar instances with other stems in the domain of bird words. While the piṭ(ṭ)- stem is general in meaning as ‘bird’ in Telugu, Kolami, Naikri and Gondi, it is specialized to ‘tailor bird’ in Kannada. piṭaka.

We can see the same semantic

development in the NDr bird words with ōṛ- stem: In Kuṛux it has the general meaning of ‘bird in general’ and an is specialized in the same language to ‘a small For parallels: typical subsets of (1) DEDR #946 (PDr *ōṭṭ-): Tamil. oṭi break, uṭaippu breach; Kannada. oḍi, uḍi to be broken; Telugu. ōṭi broken; Naikṛi. ōṛ-, ōṭ- to break; Naiki (Chanda). uṭup- to break, ōṭ (ōṭṭ-) to break; Parji. ōḍ- to break (2) DEDR #945 (PDr *ōṭ-): Tamil. uṭaṉ altogether, -oṭu, -ōṭu with; Tulu. oḍa with Telugu. oḍam-baḍu to consent 49


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

bird’ and in Malto to ‘quail’. We will see more bird words further on with an embedded -ṭ- component. Another independent evidence of such a semantic specialization is the tīt-/tittstem: DEDR #3275 has Parji. tīta ‘bird’, Gadaba. tīte id. with a general meaning but in Telugu we have tītuva, tītuvu, tītukapiṭṭa ‘lapwing bird’ (Gwynn), tītuva ‘the yellow wattled Lapwing’ (Brown) with a specialized meaning. In Gadaba. purus tīte ‘dove’ where purus is ‘dove’ or ‘pigeon’ (DEDR #433450), the component tīte serves the same role played by Telugu. piṭṭa ‘bird’ in tītukapiṭṭa above. Areally Vedic. tittira, tittiri ‘partridge’ (CDIAL #5809) identified as foreign and suspected to be of Para-Munda in origin


(Witzel 1999b:45) should be deemed as another

specialization (with the standard stem alternation tīt : titt- known as Zvelebil’s Rule52) and as Dravidian. Interestingly Tamil. tittiri ‘a kind of kingfisher’ (MTL) is yet another specialization. The case for the Dravidian origin of Vedic. tittira is strengthened by the currency of its leading root stem in the general sense of ‘bird’ along with its inflected forms spread over contactless far away Dravidian subgroups with varied semantic specializations. That such a specialization took place very early can be seen with: DEDR #4125: Kui. pio ‘golden oriole’ Kuwi. pioṭi id. Kuṛux. piō ‘oriole’ and DEDR #4173: Tulu. pīyavu ‘small chicken’. Naiki. (Chanda.) piyoṭe ‘chick’ Gondi. pise, pōnj pise, kor pise ‘chicken’. The component PDr *pīc- (intervocalic *-c-, phonetically -s-


Parts of DEDR #4334: Tamil. puṟā dove, pigeon Telugu. buṟṟa- piṭṭe a sort of pigeon. Gadaba. purus tīte dove. 51 Citing Munda language etymons Korku. titid, Santali. sengel titi ‘guinea fowl’ 52 “CV-CC:CC Cf. Tamil. meṭṭ/u, heap of earth: mēṭ/u height, eminence, hillock” (Zvelebil 1990:14)

Periannan Chandrasekaran


weakened53 at PDr stage itself to -y-) had the sense of ‘oriole’ as can be seen from the senses attested in SDr II Kui/Kuwi and NDr Kuṛux but also had the sense of ‘chicken’ as seen from SDr Tulu and SDr II Gondi and CDr Naiki (Chanda). Areally cognate with them is Skt. pīyu (lex.) ‘crow, owl’ (MW). Then the stem can be inferred to have had the general sense of ‘bird’ originally most likely from the root PDr *pīc- ‘feather’54. Cf. Telugu. piccika ‘a sparrow’ (Brown). Coming back to the component PDr *ōṭ-, we find that its usage was very widespread in PDr stage itself and, in its alloforms such as *ḍ-, *ṛ, was embedded in so many bird words: Gondi. gōrōḍ ‘myna’ (DEDR #176655), Gondi. kokoḍal ‘heron, duck’ and Kui. kokoṛa ‘crane’ (DEDR #2125 56 ), Pengo. kokoḍa ‘crane, paddy-bird’ (Burrow 1970:202), Kuwi. pioṭi ‘golden oriole’ (DEDR #412557) and Naiki (Chanda). piyoṭe ‘chick’ (DEDR #4173 58 ). Also the 'cock' words from DEDR #2248 59 : Naiki.


See Subrahmanyam (1983:330 and 2008:79, 139-140), Krishnamurti (2003:93, 148) DEDR #4133: Tamil. picir fibre. Telugu. pī˜cu the fibrous parts of plants, etc. Gadba. pī˜su fibrous matter of fruits. Also DEDR #4226: Kui. pīseri, plieri tail feather of a peacock; pieli peacock. Malt. pice tail of a peacock; picale peacock in full plume. / Cf. Skt. picchapeacock's tail; Turner, CDIAL, no. 8151 55 Part of DEDR #1766: Tamil. kurakam myna, starling, Acridotheres tristis. Kannada. goravaṅka, goravaṅke the common maina, A. tristis, or the pastor. Telugu. goruvaṅka, gōra, gōraṅka, gōriṅka, gōruvaṅka myna, Gondi. gōrōḍ id. 56 DEDR #2125 (has mixed up the two different roots*kr- and *kokk-): Tamil. kokku common crane, Grus cinerea; stork, paddy bird; kuruku heron, stork, crane, bird, gallinaceous fowl, aṉṟil bird. Malayalam. kokku, kokkan, kocca, kuriyan paddy bird, heron; kuru heron. Toda. košk heron. Kannada. kokku, kokkare crane; kukku heron, crane. Tulu. korṅgu crane, stork. Telugu. koṅga, kokkera, kokkarāyi crane; Kolami. koŋga crane. Parji. kokkal id. Gadba. kokkāle heron; koŋalin, kokalin crane. Gondi. koruku id.; kokoḍal heron, duck; koŋga crane . Kui kohko paddy bird. Kuwi kongi, kokoṛa crane. Brahui. xāxūr demoiselle crane. 57 DEDR #4125: Kui. pio golden oriole Kuwi. pioṭi id. Ku. piō oriole 58 DEDR #4173: Tulu. pīyavu small chicken. Naiki. (Chanda.) piyoṭe chick Gondi. pise, pōnj pise, kor pise chicken 59 This entry has wrongly clubbed them with Tamil. kōẓi etc., as if the analysis of gōgōṛi and the rest were gō-gōṛi. 54


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

(Chanda.) gogoḍi, gogoṛi 'cock', Gondi. gōgōṛi, gugoṛī, ghogṛi, gogoṛ 'cock'. Areally Skt. bakoṭa (lex.) ‘a kind of crane’ (MW) has this component embedded in it. Examining the ‘cock’ words from Naiki (Chanda) and Gondi listed above, they are phonemically *kokoṭi, *kōkōṭi, *kukōṭi, *kokVṭi (unknown vowel V is most likely a short unstressed -o-) and *kokoṭ- which should immediately remind one of Vedic. kukkuṭa60 ‘cock’ (CDIAL #3208) identified as non-IA in origin (Kuiper 1991:58, 68 and Witzel 1999c:41). Their underlying semantics lies most likely in ‘feather, hair’ as seen with DEDR #1634: Telugu. kuṅkaṭi, kū̃kaṭi a lock or tuft of hair, crest of peacock. Gondi. kukur(i), kukuṛ cock's comb; kūkōḍ, kokkōr id.; kookooree crest on a bird's head. Konḍa. kukuṭi hair. Here we are looking at a yet another very widespread PDr stem *kkk-/*kkk‘bird’ in compounded forms. That it had developed its free-standing usage in PDr is evident in words spanning SDr and CDr from DEDR #2125 (which as noted above has confounded another root stem kur-/kor-) : Tamil. kokku ‘common crane, Grus cinerea, stork, paddy bird’. Malayalam. kokku, kokkan ‘paddy bird, heron’. Kannada. kokku, kokkare ‘crane’, kukku ‘heron, crane’. Telugu. kokkera ‘crane’. Parji. kokkal id. Gadaba. kokkāle ‘heron’, kokalin ‘crane’. From DEDR #1627: Kannada. kukkaṭi ‘fork-tailed shrike’, Telugu. kkaṭimga id., and from DEDR #1871: Tamil. kūkai ‘rock horned owl Buba bengalensis’. Kannada.

For an instance of bird words with an embedded -uṭ- stem Cf. Kannada (Kittel) kiruṭiga ‘the baybacked shrike’, kiruṭige ‘the Keroula shrike, Keroula Indica; the great Indian shrike, Lanius burra; the Lahtora butcher bird, Lanuis lahotra’. For examples of a simple uncompounded bird word with cognate with the kir-tem, Pengo. kira ‘sp. bird (with a large tail)’ (Oriya. kiroṭi) (Burrow and Bhattacharya 1970:200). Cf. also Skt. kīra ‘parrot’. 60

Periannan Chandrasekaran


gūge, gūgi id. Now we can find an areal etymology for Skt. kokila ‘Indian cuckoo’ too based on the same Dravidian stem61. It is very easy to find a component stem from one compound and find its other related words. Looking at Gondi. gōrōḍ ‘mynah’ where we already identified PDr *ōṭ-

as the trailing component, we can now follow its initial component

phonemically *kr- and observe62 its occurrence in Kannada. goravaṅka, goravaṅke ‘the common maina, A. tristis, or the pastor’ and Telugu. goruvaṅka, gōra, gōraṅka, gōriṅka, gōruvaṅka ‘myna’ where it occurs uncompounded in Telugu. gōrā ‘mynah’ but is compounded with vaṅka which, in turn, occurs free in Tamil. vaṅkā ‘a bird’ (DEDR #5206). A cognate of the gōr- stem words above is Tamil. kōracam ‘a kind of partridge’ (MTL).


Tamil. kalamalakku ‘to agitate, confound’ We take up the case of echo-like compounds in Dravidian and provide a

pleonastic explanation for it as with Kuṛux. keŋkō-beŋkō ‘crooked, curved’ above. The echo-like word kalamalakku occurs in 7th century Tēvāram maṉattuḷē kalamalakkiṭṭut tiriyuṅ kaṇapati (Tēvāram:4.2.5) “the Gaṇapati that goes around causing agitation in [their] minds”. The verb kalamalakku with the sense of ‘causing

DEDR# 1764 Tamil. kuyil koel, Indian cuckoo, Eudynamis honorata; Malayalam. kuyil, kur̤il Indian cuckoo, Cuculus or E. orientalis. Kannada. kukil cuckoo; kūgula cuckoo. Tulu. kōgilè, kōjilè, kuyilu; id. Kuwi kuhu paṭa id. / Cf. Skt. kokila- Indian cuckoo; cf. Pkt. kuhila- id. 62 See footnote 55 for the DEDR entry #1766 61


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

to flounder, to stir, agitate, confound’ (MTL) is pleonastic with two components63 kal and mal with the same sense of ‘agitate, stir, confuse’: DEDR #1303 (a subset): Tamil. kalaṅku to be stirred up, agitated, ruffled (as water), be confused, abashed; kalakku to confuse, nonplus; Kannada. kalaku to agitate, shake, perturb, make turbid, stir up, disturb; Tulu. galjuni to confuse; Telugu. kalaguṇḍu confusion; Kui. glahpa to mix by stirring, stir, confuse, perplex, confound, cause to be confused; act of stirring, confusing; Kuṛux. xalaxnā to disturb, make muddy (as water); Malto. qalg̣e to disturb (as water). DEDR #1306 (a subset): Tamil. kalavaram confusion of mind, perturbation, Telugu. kalavaramu confusion, state of being puzzled or perplexed. DEDR #4736 (a subset): Tamil. malaṅku to be agitated, turbid, confused, shake, move, tremble (as the eyes), perish; Kannada. mallaṇi, mallar̤i bodily agitation, bewilderment, fear, amazement. Telugu. malayu to be distressed Kolami. melg- to shake; melageng to move. Gadaba. melg- to stir, move. Gondi. melhānā to shake; mellī- to move.

Each of the components is derivable from PDr *kal- and PDr *mal- (or PSDr if the words with mel- stem are ignored) each with the same indicated semantics.


Summary of etymological and structural patterns From the discussions above we can observe the following: (a) Words which start off general in meaning get specialized variously in the

same semantic domain and their stems are then found as such in free words or as components in pleonastic compounds. What this means for etymological efforts is MTL proposes an unsure etymology: “prob. kaḷam + malakku-” but the retroflex -ḷ- as original is untenable historically for that period and for the phonology of echo-like Dravidian compounds; moreover Tamil. kaḷam is attested predominantly in the sense of ‘place, floor’ etc. ( and is from PDr as seen in DEDR #1376) which semantics is irrelevant here.


Periannan Chandrasekaran


that we can relate words from the same semantic domain by their component stems purely based on phonology even though they differ in their specific final meanings. (b) Components may be found singly in free words, or be combined and positioned randomly in a compound with no evident role implied by the position. There are cases where the components have simply exchanged their positions as with Tamil. iṉanirai and niraiyinam both meaning ‘herd’ seen earlier and with Tamil/Malayalam. vāykkāl and kālvāy ‘channel’64. The consequence of this random permutation and combination is that it is actually quite possible to predict new names or words in the domain and find that it is attested in the Indian linguistic area. (c) Components which have retained their general sense till this day may be found in initial position as seen in the ‘bird’ words above as with Gadaba. piṭ-oḍe (piṭṭa means ‘bird’ in many languages other than Gadaba) and Telugu. tīṭukapiṭṭa (tīte means ’bird’ in Parji and Gadda). This, when viewed in a situation where the second component’s etymology is unknown, would be unrecognizable to an observer used to Krishnamurti’s pattern (2-iv) with the compound ‘proper noun x + common noun y’ where ‘y is called x’. Such is the case with the Vedic place name Ūrjayantī identified as non-Aryan in origin by Witzel (1999c:§4.3) where now we can identify the initial component as the Dravidian place word ūr ‘village, town’ (DEDR #752)65.

DEDR #1480: Tamil. kāl, kāl-vāy, vāy-kkāl irrigation channel. Malayalam. kāl-vā(y) river mouth; irrigation channel; vāy-kkāl small or narrow canal; kāva gutter. Toda. ko·fo·y ditch (in song). Kannada. kāl, kālive, kāluve, kālve, kāvale water-course, channel, brook. Tulu. kālivè channel for irrigation, canal. Telugu. kālava, kāluva canal, channel, gutter, drain, sewer. Gondi. kālva irrigation channel (< Telugu.). Cf. 1478 Tamil.kāl and 5352 Tamil. vāy. 65 Cf. Urōṭakam (Urōḍagam) and Urakampākkam town names in a 11th century Chola Tamil inscription (SII. Vol. 3:165-167), Kākanti alternate name of the city Kāvirippūmpaṭṭiṉam (Maṇimēkalai:22:37), Antaḷi or Andaḷi (SII. Vol 2.:292, 296), Antiyūr modern town in Erode district of 64



Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

Etymology of the Vedic substratum Now we turn to providing etymological solutions based on the pleonastic

structure to words occurring in the early Vedic texts and which have been identified securely as non-IE in origin based on their violation of strict phonological and structural rules defined for originally IE words. By Vedic we mean here Vedic Sanskrit or the Old Indo-Aryan (OIA) language. The major contribution to the study of these substrate words here is the alternative to the prevailing analysis which views most of the substrate words as composed of prefixes, infixes and suffixes from ancestral forms of the Munda family of languages which Witzel calls Para-Munda, “an unknown western Austro-Asiatic language” (Witzel 1999b:8) developing on the ideas of Kuiper. Witzel also states: “We can be on secure ground only if we can establish certain patterns, especially recurrent suffixes or prefixes, and can reconstruct, in this fashion, an underlying substrate or correspondences with Munda, Dravidian, etc.” (1999a:§4.1) . Here we engage in exactly such an exercise, only that instead of recurrent affixes we analyze these words as pleonastic compounds having first-class lexical stems as recurrent components. Gurov is reported (Krishnamurti 2003:38) to have shown several of the substrate words to have Dravidian etymologies based on compounding66 and not prefixing.

Tamil Nadu. Caṅkam town endings -antai Uṟantai (Puṟa:39:8), Marantai (Kuṟu:34:6) suggest *ant-ai meant ūr ‘town’ 66 Gurov’s etymology for kīkaṭa (in RV 3.53.14a) as from PDr *kīẓ ‘low, bottom, mean’, kaṭa ‘place’, with loss of *ẓ from the compound *kīẓ-kkaṭ-ar ‘mean persons’ clearly taking his cue from naicāśākhám maghavan randhayā naḥ (RV 3.53.14d) in the same kīkaṭa verse but it confounds tribe name origins with much later deregatory references (Cf. Vedic. kirāta)

Periannan Chandrasekaran


For a critical treatment of the issues and controversies involved in the methodologies and approaches to pre-Ṛg Vedic ‘Subversion’ (language shift) versus convergence (bilingualism), the reader is referred to Hock (1996:17-58) who, Krishnamurti (2003:42) says, “has persistently questioned the theory of a Dravidian substratum in Indo-Aryan from pre-historic times” since 1975 and “suggests that Ṛgvedic Aryans and non-Aryans met as ‘near-equals’”. These arguments, however, do not prejudice the validity of the etymologies of the Vedic foreign words as Dravidian but can only use the results as further data for resolving the issue. Reserving the full discussion of the Vedic substratum for a future paper, I briefly discuss their etymological pattern to give an idea of the applicability of my methodology here. 6.6

Vedic. śarkoṭa ‘serpent’ Vedic. śrkoṭa ‘serpent’ has been identified as non-IA and much discussed by

Kuiper (1991:41-2, 44) and Witzel (1999a:§3, 1999c:30, 37) where they take the initial śar- stem as a Munda prefix while acknowledging at the outset that “in modern Munda there are, owing to the typological change that has taken place in these languages, only some petrified relics remain” (Kuiper 1991:39). This well known ‘serpent’ word, occurring at least twice in the Atharva Veda (Whitney 2000) as in śārkoṭam arasaṁ viṣam (AV 7.58.767) and arasasya śarkoṭasya (AV 7.58.5), can now be related to the same pleonastic structure as with the Gondi sargōḍā etymon which was discussed earlier in detail. Gondi. sargōḍā was reconstructed phonemically in Dravidian to *cērkōṭā/cerekōṭa the second component 67

But listed as AV 7.56.7d by Bloomfield 1990.


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

being a variant of the canonical root *kṭṭ- from which the second component of śarkoṭa is also derived but with a geminate stop which will be worked out later. The question now is about the initial part śr- of śrkoṭa which in Dravidian would phonemically be *cr- but, as shown earlier, the sargōḍā etymons have PDr *cēr as the root of the initial component. The *cr- component can be related as a cognate to the Dravidian snake etymons in DEDR #2359 below whose stems are reconstructed to PDr *carac by Emeneau(1994:361) and Krishnamurti (2003:122-3) and to *caracc(u) by Subrahmanyam (2008:141): DEDR #2359: Tamil. aravu, aravam, ara, arā snake. Ma. aravu, aravam serpent. Telugu. trã̄cu id. Gadaba. tāsu krait. Gondi. tarāsh, tarās, taranj taras, tārs, taras, tārs, taras(u) snake ; turashee cobra. Konḍa saras(u) snake. Pengo. rāc id. Manḍa. trehe id. Kui. srāsu, srācu id. Kuwi. rācū id.; rācu id., in: nāgarācu cobra; rācu snake, snail. Cf. 2360 Ta. cari. / Cf. Prākṛt. (DNM) sarāhaya- snake.

Without a derivative vowel the root ought to be PDr *cār as word-final -r is not permitted after a short vowel in PDr (Krishnamurti 2003:120). With this we have PDr. *cār for the śr component in Vedic. śrkoṭa. As for the reconstruction of its second component koṭa, it should be noted that it has a single voiceless stop -ṭafter a long vowel which necessitates reconstruction to a geminate (-ṭṭ-) in PDr for it. The reason is that, comparatively, a single voiceless stop occurring in postvocalic position in any of the Dravidian languages can be traced back to a geminate stop in PDr and if it was a single stop it would appear as a lenis consonant (Krishnamurti 2003:163). If Vedic. śrkoṭa is a direct takeover from a local Dravidian dialect and not the result of changes in transmission, then we can infer that the source Dravidian

Periannan Chandrasekaran


dialect had already simplified geminate stops to single stops. That this could easily have been the case in the Vedic period is supported by the fact that simplification of a geminate stop after a long vowel was a very early Dravidian development since all Dravidian languages except Tamil-Malayalam simplified geminate stops to a single stop (Krishnamurti 2003:163, Subrahmanyam 2008:57).

Moreover if the local

Dravidian dialect had had the second component of this serpent word with a -ṭṭ- as in *kōṭta, the borrowing Vedic speech would have had no reason to simplify it as the Vedic language did support geminate stops after long vowels as evidenced by the many occurrences (at least twelve) of īṭṭe the third person singular present indicative form of the athematic verb īḍ (or īḷ) ‘to praise’ in Ṛg Veda itself (Lubotsky RVC). So we can reconstruct Vedic. śrkoṭa phonemically to PDr. *cārkōṭṭa or *carVkōṭṭa where V is an unstressed derivative vowel that caused reduction of the long vowel in *cār and was lost later. Now we discuss the common origin of the roots of the initial components of Vedic. śrkoṭa and Gondi. sargōḍā, namely, the component *cār in *cārkōṭṭa and the component *cēr in *cērkōṭa (intervocalic -ṭ- would be phonetically a voiced -ḍ-). Since, at some stage in PDr, word-initial palatals such as PDr *y-, *ñ- and *c- caused neutralization of the following * and * (Krishnamurti 2003:99,139,143), we might be looking at the same root for those two components, namely, PDr *cr (or *cǢr) ‘to move or creep’ where //// (or //Ǣ//) is the archiphoneme representing that neutralization (Krishnamurti 2003:143 and 2001:80). Indeed we have evidence of PDr *cār in the sense of motion in the DEDR ‘slip’ entry #2360 as cross-referenced by the above cited DEDR ‘snake’ entry #2359 (citing here only the etymons needed


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

for PDr reconstruction): Tamil. cari ‘slide, slip’, Kannada. sari, jari ‘slide’, Telugu. jaragu ‘slide, creep’ Kolami. jarāg- ‘to slip’ Malto. jarqe ‘to fall’. Since all three subgroups have the same stem with the sense of sliding or motion we have PDr *cr‘slip, move’. Krishnamurti relates (ibid.) *cēr- ‘to go, reach’ entries from DEDR #2814 here for the alternation of * and * after PDr *c-. In relating the phonetic development of PDr *c- to the ś- in śarkoṭa here, it is worth quoting Emeneau’s reconstruction (Emeneau 1994:347) of the phonetics of PDr *c-: “There is no difficulty, considering the occurrences of the palatal affricate in all the subgroups of the family, in reconstructing this pronunciation for PDr *c-. The more specific description will include ‘blade-alveolar palatal’ and will specify that the affricate has as release a sibilant of the s̆-type”. The second component PDr. *kōṭ(ṭ)-, whose Dravidian cognates have been cited in the Gondi treatment, is also to be seen in non-IE words in the IA lexicon such as Skt. gala-goḍī and gala-goḍikā ‘a kind of snake’ (MW citing Caraka VI.23) with standard Dravidian voicing of intervocalic stops. Next we discuss Vedic. karkoṭa here which occurs at least once as karkoṭo nāma sarpaḥ (RVKh 7.55.7) (Bloomfield 1990). As for the relationship of Vedic. karkoṭa with śrkoṭa, the second component in each of them is the same but their first components, based on the Dravidian phonological discussions above, must be from different roots. Witzel (1999c:30) sets up a k/ś alternation as a “northwestern peculiarity”. Even within Dravidian, a change of PDr *c- to k has been identified

Periannan Chandrasekaran


mainly as a shared innovation in NDr but it is sporadic68 and the available instances are meager (Subrahmanyam 2008:44, 138, 282, Krishnamurti 2003:125-6) and this sound change is for non-low vowels, viz.,  and  . Ignoring then this sound change, we can find snake and reptile words with cognate components in Dravidian with krstems such as Tamil. karaṭṭuviriyaṉ69 ‘blood viper reddish in color’ (MTL), Tamil. karaṭṭāṉ, karaṭṭōnti70 ‘Blood-sucker, Calotes versicolor’ (MTL) . It should be noted that Tamil. karaṭṭōnti itself is another pleonasm71. From the IA lexicon, we have as cognate components in Vedic. kṛkalāsa ‘lizard, chameleon’ (cited as a foreign word by Witzel 1999b:12) pointing to *kərəkalāsa and kardamaka ‘a kind of snake’ (MW citing Suśruta) another structurally non-IE word. 6.7

Vedic. kalmalīkín ‘shining, twinkling’ This word has been identified by Kuiper (1955:170, 1991:91) and Witzel

(1999b:12) as a non-IE foreign word in Vedic. It occurs once72 in the Ṛg Veda in the sense of ‘shining, twinkling’. We also have one kalmali listed as Vedic substrate by Witzel (1999b:43) with a query ‘shimmering (of stars)?’ and occurring four times in


Subrahmanyam (2008:138) says of a 1988 Emeneau study as “attributing this irregular change to the instability of the affricate” and finally concluding that “replacement of the palatal by velar is sporadic …” 69 Cf. The word viriyaṉ in DEDR #5413: Tamil. viri, viriyaṉ viper; virusu id. Malayalam. viriyan id. and in DEDR #4038: Tamil. paṉaiyaṉ, paṉai-viriyaṉ krait, Bungarus caeruleus. 70 Cf. ōnti in DEDR #1053: Tamil. ōti, ōnti bloodsucker lizard; ōntāṉ bloodsucker; Malayalam. ōntu chameleon; bloodsucker, Lacerta cristata. Kannada. onti a kind of lizard or chameleon, bloodsucker, L. cristata. Koḍagu. o·ndi, o·tike·të chameleon. Tulu. ōnti bloodsucker, salamander 71 Cf. karaṭṭ- in karaṭṭāṉ and the word ōnti in DEDR #1053 in footnote above 72 namasy kalmalīkínam námobhir (RV:II.33.8c)


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

the Atharva Veda (XV.2.173) in association with maṇi (jewel) and thought to basically mean ‘light’74. Since kalmalīkín has a reduplicative pattern like a typical “onomatopoeic” it is worth mentioning here the words of Emeneau from his classic areal treatment of this topic (Emeneau 1980:250-93) on the IA onomatopoeic material: “Remarkably few IE etymologies hold for the IA material. There seems to be no Old or Middle Iranian material, and the abundant Modern Persian material may have been formed under the influence of Arabic75 or of Turkic. Since the material of the type on which we are concentrating is Indic, and hardly IE at all, we must look for indigenous influence on IA from the earliest period” (p265)76. In the word kalmalīkín, the -in ending is the possessive suffix and -īk- is a common derivational affix in IA cf. Vedic. mṛḷīka ‘compassion, favour’ from the Vedic verb mṛḷ ‘to be gracious or favorable’. The stem kalmal- is to be analyzed in Dravidian as a pleonastic compound kal-mal where each component stem means ‘shine’. We have already seen above an almost exact phonological and structural parallel with Tamil. kalamalakku ‘to agitate, confound’. The kal- stem is cognate with the following Dravidian etymons:

“kálmalir maṇiḥ” Whitney(2000:57-60) Whitney: “kalmali” with no translation, Monier-Williams: “splendour, brightness, sparkling”, Böhtlingk and Roth: „viell. Glanz (etwa der Sterne)“, Kuiper (1955:170): “meaning obscure” 75 Citing: Hoffman, Karl. 1952. Wiederholende Onomatopoetika im Altindischen. Indogermanische Forschungen 60.254-64, p263, n.3. 76 And nearly repeats the same in his conclusion (Emeneau 1980:268): “The IA family does not inherit the pattern from IE (the Old Iranian lack is notable)”, “… Consequently, we may postulate diffusion of both the pattern and some etymological items from the indigenous families into IA.” 73 74

Periannan Chandrasekaran


Tamil. (MTL) kalippu ‘brightness’ (lex.), kali ‘to become manifest’, kaliẓtal ‘to shine forth, as beauty’; Telugu. (Brown) kaliki ‘a beauty, a charm or grace, charming, lovely, pretty’, kaliki-tanamu. ‘prettiness’. Also DEDR #1300: Tamil. kala, kali ‘appear’. Tamil. kaliẓ-tal is attested in Caṅkam Tamil texts as in aṅkaliẓ mēṉi (Aiṅkuṟunūṟu: 174) meaning “body with beauty shining forth” and kaliẓ taḷir aṇinta irum ciṉai māattu (Akanāṉūṟu:97:20) “mango tree whose dark branches have beautiful tender shoots”. Tamil. kalippu ‘brightness’ is listed77 by the 9th century nighaṇṭu Piṅkalantai in the synonyms for polivu ‘beauty’. These would provide reconstruction to PSDr *kal- ‘shine, beauty’. The mal- stem is cognate with the following Dravidian etymons: DEDR #4729: Tamil. mallal ‘elegance, brilliance, beauty’; Telugu. malayu ‘shine, be splendid, unfold, display’. DEDR #4739: Tamil. malar ‘appear, rise to view’. Also Kannada. (Kittel) malatu ‘to shine, to unfold, display’. Tamil. mallal ‘beauty’ is attested in a 13th century commentary on Tirukkōvaiyār as: mallaṟṟaṉ ṉiṟamoṉṟil (Tirukkōvaiyār 4:9, Pērāciriyar commentary78) meaning “in one of his beautiful forms”. Also relevant are the DEDR #5079 etymons Parji. melk- ‘to lighten’, malk- ‘(light) to flash’; Pengo. malkā‘to lighten’ which are most likely with an original radical vowel PDr *a (in spite of the entry’s placement79 suggesting *mel-) and the stem mal- in Pengo. mil-mal in ‘to

tuppuk kalippuk kañaṟal pommal poṟiyē pokkam pūp polivu ākum (Piṅkalantai:7:475) Pērāciriyar’s gloss : “aẓakaiyuṭaiya taṉ tirumēṉi yoṉṟiṉkaṇ” 79 Parji. has regular change of PDr *a > e/#_[+alveolar] but rarely the other way round (Subrahmanyam 1983:46, 2008:277). Pre-Parji had a regular change of “low vowel fronting and 77 78


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

lighten’ which would secure this all the way back to PDr, otherwise we have at least PSDr *mal- ‘shine, beauty’. Kuiper in the same discussion on this foreign word (Kuiper 1955:170) cites Vedic. malmalābhavant- ‘flashing, glittering’ (bhavant is the present participle of Skt. bhū ‘to be’) occurring in Taittirīya Saṃhita80 and other Vedic texts81 which can also be seen as derived by reduplication from the same Dravidian root as the second component of kalmalīkín. This also shows that the second component of kalmalīkín was an independent root to start with and was combined in a pleonastic manner with an assonant root *kal-.


Vedic. kalyṇa and kalyāṇ ‘beautiful, auspicious, prosperous’

Please see the discussion of Old Tamil phrases kali koḷ yāṇar and kali yāṇar in the Context and Motivations section.

7 Context and Motivations The basic structure of the pleonastic pattern is not entirely new to or isolated in Dravidian as can be seen from the repetitive or reduplicative structure seen in echo compounds (Zvelebil 1990:73, Steever 1998:28) and in the doublets found in a subset of

expressions classified as onomatopoeics, intensives, expressives (Emeneau

1980:250-93 and 1994:323-7, Zvelebil 1990:73) and as ideophones (Chevillard

raising before apicals” says Krishnamurti (2003:117-8) and cites, alongwith many other examples, PDr *man ‘to be’ PCDr *man but Parji. men ‘to stay’. And “The Primitive Dravidian vowels are as a general rule retained in Pengo” (Burrow and Bhattacharya 1970:7) 80 Taittirīya Saṃhitā ( (Bhashyam 2005): jvalantīm tvā sādayāmi malmalābhavantīm tvā sādayāmi which Keith(1914:242) translates as “I place thee that burnest. I place thee that flashest” 81 Bloomfield(1990): Maitrāyaṇī Saṃhita II.13.19, 165.10; Kāṭhaka Saṃhita 40.4; Taittirīya Āraṇyaka 3.19.1

Periannan Chandrasekaran


2005:407). For a classic areal treatment of onomatopoeics the reader is referred to Emeneau’s “Onomatopoetics in the Indian Linguistic Area” (Emeneau 1980:250-93). We can find syntactic vestiges of the pleonastic speech tendency in Tamil Caṅkam texts where frequently we see curiously structured noun phrases in which the head noun is preceded by a synonymous noun with a stock intervening verb koḷ82 ‘having, containing’. They are awkward to rephrase in the syntax otherwise prevailing in the Caṅkam corpus or to translate into English and we can clearly see that their awkwardness arises from their paraphrasing nature. This is unlike other phrases of the predominant type where the same intervening verb koḷ connects nouns with differing senses. For example, koṭi koḷ pācaṟai (Puṟa:69:9) ‘war camps with … banners’ where koṭi83 means ‘banner, flag’ and pācaṟai84 ‘war camp’. Some examples of the pleonastic or paraphrastic occurrences are: iṭumpai koḷ paruvaral (Puṟa:174:4)85: where it is glossed by the old commentary (Pillai 1996) as nōy koṇṭa tuṉpam which, in a template form, may be translated as ‘tuṉpam with nōy’ where iṭumpai means ‘suffering, affliction, distress, calamity’, paruvaral ‘suffering, affliction’, nōy ‘sorrow, grief, affliction, trouble’ and tuṉpam ‘affliction, sorrow, distress, trouble’ (MTL). A literal translation would, of course, be awkward sounding something like ‘distress with affliction’. So translators often choose to ignore this structure and say “anguish [of the world]” (Hart and Heifetz

MTL: koḷ(ḷu-tal): to seize, grasp, to acquire, take possession of, occupy, to contain, hold MTL: ‘banner, flag, standard, streamer’ 84 MTL: ‘encampment or tent of an invading army; warcamp’ 85 ñālattu iṭumpai koḷ paruvaral tīra (Puṟa:174:3-4) 82 83


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

1999:113). This awkward structure is easily explained with the motivation of paraphrasing the head word paruvaral. kuẓūuk koḷ peruṅ kulai (Neṭu:24) 86 : where the medieval commentary by Naccinārkkiṉiyar (Pattuppāṭṭu 1986) glosses it as tiraṭciyaik koṇṭa tāṟukaḷ where kuẓūu87 means ‘class, assembly, crowd’, kulai ‘cluster, bunch, as of fruits, flowers’, tiraṭci ‘multitude, assemblage’, tāṟu ‘bunch, cluster, as of plantains, dates, areca nuts’. A literal translation would be ‘big bunches [of areca nuts] with cluster(ing)’ clearly a paraphrasing of the word kulai motivating this phrase. tōṭu koḷ iṉanirai (Patiṟṟru:12:6)88: This is an interesting case where we have an already pleonastically compounded head word (iṉanirai) preceded by a synonymous noun (tōṭu). We have already discussed iṉanirai ‘herd, collection’ in the evidence section above and here we see it preceded by tōṭu meaning again ‘collection, assemblage, crowd, cluster, bunch’. A literal translation would be ‘ the herd [of other animals] having assemblage’ clearly indicating the intent to paraphrase the word iṉanirai. kali koḷ yāṇar (Puṟa:66:689): Meaning “fresh income (or prosperity) with the property of prospering”, the old commentary (Pillai 1996) glossing it as taẓaittalaik koṇṭa putuvaruvāy where kali 90 ‘flourishing, thriving, prospering’, yāṇar ‘fresh

kamukiṉ … koẓu maṭal aviẓnta kuẓūuk koḷ peruṅ kulai (Neṭu:23-24) Its variant kuẓu means (MTL): class, society, band, assembly; assembly or gathering of women; flock, herd, swarm, shoal, bundle, heap 88 piṟa māṉ tōṭu koḷ iṉanirai (Patiṟṟru:12:6) 89 niṉṉiṉum nallaṉ … kalikoḷ yāṇar veṇṇip paṟantalai mikap pukaẓ ulakameyti (Puṟa:66:6) where veṇṇp paṟantalai is a town name 90 DEDR #1300: Tamil. kali to grow luxuriantly, sprout, increase; n. flourishing, prospering. Telugu. kalugu to accrue be produced or caused; kalimi possessions, wealth. Konḍa. kalgi to accrue as prosperity, happen. Kuwi. kalg- to get, become, accrue 86 87

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income, fertility, wealth’, taẓaittal ‘to flourish, thrive, grow luxuriantly, as plants, to be abundant, as a flood, to multiply, to grow, prosper, as a family people, state’ and varuvāy ‘origin, source’ (MTL). The word yāṇar ‘fresh income, wealth’ is attested dozens91 of times in Caṅkam texts (Lehman and Malten 1993). Here again translators avoid the awkward construction and simply say ‘wealthy [Veṇṇi]’ (Hart and Heifetz 1999:51). We also find instances where the word yāṇar is preceded attributively by other synonyms as in mallal92 yāṇar (Aka:216:12) and instances where yāṇar in turn serves attributively with other synonyms as in yāṇar vaḷam 93 (Aka:181:14, Porunar:245). There is an occurrence where the connecting verb koḷ is left out as in the phrase kali yāṇar (Maturai:118 94 ) which the medieval commentator Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar glosses (Pattuppāṭṭu 1986) as perukkiṉai uṭaittākiya putuvaruvāy[iṉaiyuṭaiya] meaning ‘[with] fresh income having abundance or influx (of wealth)’95. Here the word kali may also be taken to be syntactically the verb kali meaning96 ‘to grow luxuriantly, to increase’ which is still the same sense as with the nominal form above. The variant forms of kali koḷ yāṇar and kali yāṇār illustrate dramatically how pleonastic word structure develops. The word kali is descended from PDr *kal‘abundance, prosperity’ based on DEDR #1300 (See footnote 90).

Even after excluding the cases where yāṇar likely means ‘beauty’ MTL: mallal ‘abundance, wealth, fertility, richness’. Also DEDR #4729. 93 MTL: vaḷam ‘fertility, productiveness, luxuriance, abundance, fulness, advantage, profit, wealth, riches, income’. Also DEDR #5304. 94 oliyōvāk kaliyāṇar mutuveḷḷilai (Maturai:118-9) where mutuveḷḷilai is a town name and kaliyāṇar is a single metrical foot or cīr in Tamil prosody 95 MTL: perukku(noun) influx, as of wealth. perukku-tal (verb): to cause to increase or abound; to make greater, to fill, to cause to swell and overflow, to multiply. Also DEDR #4411. 96 See footnote 90 91 92


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

Moreover it should certainly be remarked that the Caṅkam phrase kali yāṇār is astonishingly near-identical in phonological form and senses (for ‘beauty’ see below) to Vedic. kalyṇa-98 (and feminine kalyāṇ) ‘beautiful, auspicious,


fortunate, lucky’ whose etymology has been very unsatisfactory. Mayrhofer (KEWA:185) suggests, under kalyaḥ, a composition kali + -āṇa- but says “vor allem bezüglich des letzten Gliedes ganz unsicher” (“very uncertain especially regarding the last member”). Pinault (2006:177) remarks, “the retroflex nasal in the last syllable has remained a puzzle” and goes on to propose100 a semantic evolution from a hypothetical Proto-Vedic *kaly-āṇi- ‘having beautiful hips’ > ‘beautiful’ and treats the masculine kalyṇa as a secondary derivation from the feminine form but still acknowledges, “the word āṇi cannot be of IE origin” (ibid:190). Citing a work of Pinault 101 , Lubotsky (IAIL) also remarks on kalyṇa/kalyāṇ: “Doubts remain, however. Since āṇí- is a loanword, it is not unreasonable to assume that kalyāṇ- is a loanword, too”. Vedic. āṇí ‘linch-pin’ is, of course, identified as a foreign word (Kuiper List #35). But, in Dravidian, the components kal- and yāṇ- are attested in the sense of ‘beauty’ too. For a reconstruction of PSDr *kal- ‘beauty’, see the discussion of Vedic. kalmalīkin above. This should be contrasted with Pinault’s hypotheses of Once as kalyṇa (RV 1.31.9) and thrice with the word forms of kalyāṇḥ (RV 3.53.6, 4.58.8, 10.30.5) Pinault (2006:176) assumes for āṇi an original meaning of ‘hip, haunch’ taking his cue from the meaning ‘the part of the leg just above the knee’ occurring in Suśruta which, he goes on, was metaphorically transferred to the two linch-pins at both ends of the axle resulting in Vedic āṇí ‘linch pin’ 101 Pinault, G-J. 2003. Sanskrit kalyāṇa- interprèté à la lumière des contacts en Asie Centrale. Bulletin de la Société de Linguistique de Paris 98:123-161 98


Periannan Chandrasekaran


“obsolescence of the adjective *kali ‘beautiful, good’ in the standard Vedic language” and “indirect remnants in Old Indo-Aryan of IE *kal-i ‘beautiful, well done’” in the RV personal name Kali102. But the IE origin of that personal name itself has been deemed highly unlikely and is listed as a foreign word (Kuiper 1991:7,91). For Tamil. yāṇ- stems in the sense of ‘beauty’, we have103: “yāṇuk kaviṉ ām” (Tolkāppiyam:col:381) meaning ‘yāṇu is beauty’ and “yāṇar … kaṭṭaẓaku” (Tivākaram:1397) meaning ‘yāṇar … great beauty’. In addition to the Dravidian evidence for the sense of ‘prosperous’ presented earlier which covers the senses of ‘auspicious, good, lucky’, we have specifically for the sense of ‘goodness’: putumaiyum aẓakum naṉṟum yāṇar eṉṉum peyar (Piṅkalantai :10.9.1) meaning ‘the name yāṇar for newness, beauty, goodness … ’. Comparatively it should be noted here that only Old Tamil preserves the PDr *y- but it occurred only104 before ā (Krishnamurti 2003:143, Subrahmanyam 2008:86). So phonologically Old Tamil yāṇ- is identical to the PDr sequence *yāṇ-. No wonder Zvelebil (1990:59) remarks: “On the whole, Old Tamil has preserved … a very archaic state of affairs”. The economy of the solution offered by Old Tamil yāṇ- with its actual attestation of the senses of ‘prosperity, beauty’ in combination with its PDr-stage phonology should be

“… name of a man whose beauty and vigour were restored by the gods” (Pinault ibid). These are from grammatical and lexicographic treatises. MTL lists some literary occurrences but they are rather late, as late as 16th century. But in Caṅkam occurrences like oṇ pū yāṇar (Kuṟu:24:1) we can see the sense of beauty as the most applicable, “the beauty of the bright flowers” even though commentators employ blanket usage of putuvaruvāy “fresh income” even here. 104 Ignoring the two occurrences of yūkam ‘black monkey’ in the Caṅkam corpus (Lehman and Malten 1993). Old Tamil *yā- became ā- in later Tamil and PDr *yā- became ā- or ē- in other Dravidian languages (Subrahmanyam 2008:86, Krishnamurti 2008:142-3). Cf. DEDR #516 (subset): Tamil. yāṉai, āṉai elephant Telugu. ēnūgu, ēnika id. Parji. ēnu id. Gondi. yēnī, ainī, ēni id. 102 103


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

compared with IE/IA etymologies involving *āṇi or otherwise for explaining the nasal retroflex in Vedic. kalyāṇ . Coming back to the motivations for the Dravidian pleonasm, it is quite likely that this paraphrasing habit started from a speech protocol or convention in the primordial days of Dravidian (Pre-Dravidian?) of a speaker paraphrasing her word in terms of another word hopefully already known to the listener. This might have been necessitated by the extreme diversity in the lexicon. It is also likely that other factors independently contributed to pleonasm in words originally not intended to be as such. Such a development is possible with Krishnamurti’s compounding pattern (2-iv) with xy = y is called x ( x = proper noun, y = common noun). The progression of events is as follows: both x and y originally start with the same general meaning (e.g., ‘bird’) but x gets specialized (e.g. ‘nightingale’) and y is applied in the general sense (e.g., ‘bird’) as a category word to mean ‘nightingale the bird’ and the compound xy survives as a unit in a particular language long after y’s general sense has been lost by that language but is retained in some other sister language providing us the clues. So it is pleonastic only as received not as composed. This can happen even where one or both of x and y is already a pleonasm. Then we are looking at accretionary pleonasms with arbitrary number of components accreted along the way.

8 Conclusions and Summary A heretofore unidentified word structure in the Dravidian language family, namely, the pleonastic compounding pattern has been identified, described and

Periannan Chandrasekaran


established with ample evidence. At least one pleonastically structured word *ūmaguñji (phonemically *ūma-kuñci) ‘owl’ is reconstructible to the proto-stage of the Dravidian family establishing the productiveness of this pattern at that stage. To avoid relying on that single shared word as a critical evidence and to provide an independent proof of Proto-Dravidian productivity, the widespread nature of the pattern throughout the Dravidian language family has been established by the presence of such words in all the three subgroups of the family spanning many semantic domains such as animal and plant names, natural phenomena and human activities. Syntactic vestiges of pleonastic speech remained in the Tamil Caṅkam corpus as evidenced by instances of curiously structured noun phrases in which the head noun is preceded by a synonymous noun with a stock intervening verb koḷ meaning ‘having the property of’, motivation of paraphrasing being the most reasonable explanation for this unusual syntax. Such a syntactic vestige combined with other evidence strongly establishes it as an organically developed feature and rules out accidental nature of this pattern or borrowal of this feature from other language families through contact. I have then applied this pattern to solve many etymological issues in Dravidian especially in the domain of bird words notoriously archaic. The analysis of Gadaba. piṭoḍe ‘nightingale’ showed that, using the combination of semantic specialization (already recognized by the compilers of DEDR in the entries cited in that discussion) and tracing a chain of shared components subject to such a semantic specialization as a regular tool, one can apply the pleonastic pattern to arrive at the etymology of a very large number of words in the same domain efficiently. It was also shown there


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

why, in the light of semantic specialization, it is very important to avoid attempting etymology of words in isolation. This technique is a critical contribution of this paper as a new systematic tool in Dravidian and South Asian etymology. Another major finding of this paper has been that certain Vedic substrate words can be analyzed systematically as Dravidian pleonastic compounds. As a model application of that etymological principle, a few Vedic foreign words śrkoṭa and karkoṭa ‘serpent’, kukkuṭa ‘cock’, kalmalīkín ‘shining, twinkling’, malmalā (in malmalābhavant) ‘flashing, glittering’ and kalyṇa (and kalyāṇ) ‘beautiful, auspicious,

prosperous, fortunate, lucky’ have been analyzed here. It has been

shown that even echo-like structures in Dravidian are meaningful pleonasms and that the same conclusion applies to Vedic instances like kalmalīkín ‘shining, twinkling’. Going forward, now that we are better equipped, we can, both in Dravidian and in Indo-Aryan substratum and adstratum, analyze fruitfully plant and animal words, town names, personal names, tribe and country names and even names of musical modes, astronomical words and other curiously structured words all typically having complex structures with no reasonable etymologies so far. It is also hoped that future releases of Dravidian etymological dictionaries such as the DEDR take into account the findings here and, realizing the strategic importance of Dravidian etymology, start providing reconstructed roots for the various stages of Dravidian in addition to any involved affixes, formatives or “root extensions” (as Subrahmanyam 2008 passim) 105 . Starostin’s on-line Dravidian


However the general structure of such formatives, affixes and root extensions needs a strategic revision by being subjected to the same PDr phonotactics as lexical roots. Formatives currently stated

Periannan Chandrasekaran


Etymology database (Starostin 2006) is already engaged in such a fashion providing reconstructed intermediate protoforms with meanings going up the Dravidian tree with notes. Krishnamurti (2003:6-15, 523-533) provides a considerable number of reconstructions by way of reconstructing the Proto-Dravidian culture and otherwise. Witzel (2000:5) had remarked: “… IA etymologies now are (or should be) at a comparatively high level of linguistic sophistication; they must include the explanation not just of individual words but also of their constituent parts, of related roots and suffixes. The same cannot yet be said for Dravidian and Munda: DED and DEDR still consist of lists of related words only, with no explanation of their structure and the interrelation between related roots or expanded roots (roots plus certain suffixes) …”. I hope that this newly reported pleonastic pattern goes a long way towards correcting that deficiency regarding Dravidian word structure and advances our knowledge of the origins of the Vedic substratum and thus our understanding not only of the languages of the Indus Valley Civilization but also of the substrate and adstrate languages of South Asia in general.

as, e.g., -ḷ (Krishnamurti 2003:92) need to be combined with the vowel preceding them. This calls for viewing them historically as grammaticalized lexical roots. Widespread grammaticalization of PDr *man ‘be’ (DEDR #3914) in verb morphology is a good example (Steever 1993:99-101) as auxiliary verb in Koṇḍa. soRa1 manar ‘they have gone1’ (Steever 1998:262) and as an affix in Old Tamil. ceymmaṉa ‘they (will) make’, eṉmaṉār ‘they (will) say’ (Steever 1993:99). In addition and in our immediate context, it helps in systematically uncovering pleonasms as with Gadaba. piṭoḍe ‘nightingale’ as piṭ-oḍ-e.


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

9 Acknowledgements I immensely thank Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan and Suresh Kolichala for their valuable corrections and suggestions for improvement. Any errors and omissions are surely and completely my responsibility. I would also like to thank immensely the Cologne Institute of Indology and Tamil Studies for their digital versions of many Sanskrit and Tamil dictionaries in various forms including scanned images and for their searchable database of critical Tamil texts which has made searching for specific constructs very easy and has improved the quality of the paper. I also thank the University of Chicago’s Digital Dictionary of South Asia project for their digital online databases of the DEDR, CDIAL, various Tamil and Telugu dictionaries and the Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Project for their various Indo-Aryan databases.

10 Abbreviations (Source refers to the actual published source listed in the references section) Aka Akanāṉūṟu (source Cologne IITS database) AV Atharva Veda (Whitney) Cilappati Cilappatikāram CDIAL Comparative Dictionary of Indo-Aryan Languages CDr Central Dravidian subgroup DEDR Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, Second Edition 1984 IA Indo-Aryan IE Indo-European Kampa Kamparāmāyaṇam (source Cologne IITS database) Kuṟu Kuṟuntokai (source Cologne IITS database) Malaipaṭu Malaipaṭukaṭām (source Pattuppāṭṭu) Maturai Maturaikkāñci (source Pattuppāṭṭu) MTL The Tamil Lexicon, Madras University MW Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Periannan Chandrasekaran

Naṟṟ NDr Neṭu OIA Pari Patiṟṟu PDr Porunar Puṟa RV SDr SII Skt


Naṟṟiṇai (source Cologne IITS database) North Dravidian subgroup Neṭunalvāṭai (source Pattuppāṭṭu) Old Indo-Aryan (= Vedic Sanskrit) Paripāṭal Patiṟṟuppattu Proto-Dravidian Porunarāṟṟuppaṭai (Source Cologne IITS database) Puṟanāṉūṟu Ṛg Veda South Dravidian subgroup South Indian Inscriptions Sanskrit

11 References Akanāṉūṟu. See Cologne IITS Database. Anderson, Greogory D.S. 2008. The Munda Languages, Routledge. Edited by Greogory D.S. Anderson. Andronov, Mikail. S. 2003. A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian Languages. Lincom Europa. Bhashyam, Vijayaraghavan. 2005. Taittiriya Samhita. Online at http://www.sanskritweb.net/yajurveda/#TS at Sanskrit Web by Ulrich Stiehl. Bloomfield, Maurice. 1990. A Vedic Concordance, Motilal Banarsidass, Reprint of the 1906 edition in the Harvard Oriental Series. Böhtlingk and Roth = Sanskrit Wörterbuch by Otto Böhtlingk and Rudolph Roth, Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries, Online at: http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.unikoeln.de/pwgindex.html Brown, Charles Philip. Telugu-English Dictionary. (1) Paper edition: 2002. Asian Educational Services, New Delhi/Madras. (2) Online version: 2004. Digitial Dictionaries of South Asia of the University of Chicago. Burrow, T. and Bhattacharya, S. 1970. The Pengo Language: Grammar, Texts and Vocabulary. Oxford University Press. CDIAL = Turner, R.L. A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages. (1) Paper edition: 1999. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi. (2) Online version: 2006. Digitial Dictionaries of South Asia of the University of Chicago.


Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure

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bushy tail of the yak, weaver's brush;kuñci tuft of hair (esp. of man), crest of peacock, tassels (as insignia of royalty); Malayalam.kuñcam,kuñci tassel, brush (esp. of toddy-drawers);koñcu mane of animals. Kannada.kuñca bunch, bundle, cluster, tassel, brush, a kind of fan or chowry;goñcal cluster, bunch; goñci a mass;goñce ...

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